2018-07-17 training log

Bench Press day. 3+ day, PR, Jokers, FSL.

And man, that was a lot of work.

Jokers are pretty cool. It’s not about killing yourself, just pushing a little harder, a little further, and challenging yourself. I’m liking it. I won’t use them often, but they do have their place at times.

But it was a LOT of work. By the time I got to my FSL sets, I was dead. It was bad tho, because I slacked off on tightness and crush-gripping the bar — not good for technique, nor my shoulders. I doubled-down on my mental cues and focus, but it’s something I just have to be mindful of — it’s exhausting.

All in all tho, a lot of work, and a good day. Benching went well. Back work was welcome. I did add in some hammer curls because I do think I need some direct biceps work for health of the tendons there — they felt better afterwards.

5/3/1 (3rd cycle, anchor, 3/5/1, PR, Jokers, FSL; modified for knee rehab)

  • Bench Press
    • bar x 5
    • 105 x 5
    • 135 x 5
    • 160 x 3
    • 185 x 3
    • 210 x 3
    • 240 x 7 (PR set)
    • 250 x 2 (Joker set)
    • 260 x 1 (Joker set)
    • 185 x 5
    • 185 x 5
    • 185 x 5
  • Bent-over Lateral Raises (superset with bench warm-up sets)
    • 17.5e x 15
    • 17.5e x 15
    • 17.5e x 15
    • 17.5e x 15
  • Neutral-Grip Pulldowns (superset with bench work & Joker sets)
    • 135 x 12
    • 135 x 12
    • 135 x 12
    • 135 x 12
    • 135 x 12
  • Kroc Rows (superset with FSL sets)
    • 60 x 10e
    • 60 x 10e
    • 60 x 25e
  • Pushdowns
    • 100 x 20
    • 100 x 20
    • 100 x 12
  • Cross-body alternating hammer-curls (superset with pushdowns)
    • 35e x 10
    • 35e x 10
    • 35e x 10

2018-07-16 training log

New cycle. Time to squat.

While I’m trying to migrate my programming to “my needs”, I’m still willing to explore new things to see how well they address my needs. One of them is taking a bit of a periodized approach, and so Wendler’s new approach of “leader & anchor” somewhat lends to that.

The next 3 weeks will be based around: 3/5/1, FSL, and Jokers. I’ve never done 3/5/1 nor Jokers before. And to be honest, Jokers give me a bit of reserve because yeah — on paper it seems crazy. 🙂 But I want the challenge. And really when you get down to it, it’s not that bad a thing. If you’ve programmed things right, if you proceed smart, it should be all good.

And it was.

Today then was “3’s week”, with a PR set. I haven’t done PR sets in a long time, and I really was happy to get back. I set a goal of 7 reps and achieved it. Then did a couple Joker sets. I did take longer rest periods to get up there, but really the sets went fine. Plus, I didn’t take the Jokers as something to kill me, just to challenge me. So the 315 for 2 felt like I could have done at least 1 more, but why? And the 330, I was just happy to have a clean single with it and left it at that. Sure I COULD have done more, but for what reason?

And frankly, to me this was more of a mental win. As I worked up I could tell the 300 would be fine and 7 reps should happen (tho it was work, but that’s expected). Then after that, I knew the 2 Joker sets would be no trouble at all. And that was part of the plan too: just 2 Jokers, slight increase, a double and a single. I executed my plan, and things are good.

Very happy today.

As for the rest.

Band pullaparts. I was doubling the band for increased resistence, but I think that’s been stressing my elbows too much. Dropped down to single band and really focused on just contracting the upper back muscles to open the arms — much harder! Much less joint stress.

Instead of FSL’ing the squats, I’m continuing with my knee-rehab approach doing 1-leg leg press. I mis-calculated weight and had to adjust on the fly (thus the decreasing weights). Where I wound up was still a challenge and I expect to be here for a while — but it’s good. This is not about weight but quality reps to help strengthen my quads and VMO towards my knees.

BTW — my knees are feeling awesome. Haven’t felt this good in YEARS. I’m very happy.

1-Leg extensions I wasn’t sure about, but I want to continue working them again for the knee and quad help. It’s getting better, so we’ll see how it goes.

Everything else is everything else. No big comments.

Finished with about 15 minutes on the bike.

Nothing big, but certainly a good day.

5/3/1 (3rd cycle, anchor, 3/5/1, PR, Jokers, FSL; modified for knee rehab)

  • Squat (superset with band pullaparts)
    • bar x 5
    • 135 x 5
    • 165 x 5
    • 200 x 3
    • 235 x 3
    • 270 x 3
    • 300 x 7 (PR set)
    • 315 x 2 (Joker set)
    • 330 x 1 (Joker set)
  • Band Pullaparts
    • Not tracked
  • 1-Leg Leg Press
    • 135 x 10e (didn’t get full ROM)
    • 115 x 8e
    • 115 x 8e
  • 1-Leg Leg Extensions
    • 35 x 12e
    • 35 x 12e
    • 35 x 12e
  • Front Plate Raises (all the way overhead)
    • 35 x 20
    • 35 x 20
    • 35 x 20
  • Stair Calves
    • 70 x 15
    • 70 x 15
    • 70 x 12

Sunday Metal – Obituary

Obituary with “Violence”

2018-07-13 training log

End the deload week with Press.

It went quite well. One thing I’ve recently added is wearing my belt when I press. In the past I did this and it wasn’t helping. But now with my new setup, I’m actually finding it working well. In fact, today I found that it helped me build up internal pressure more and I was able to stave off the dizzies much easier during my setup ritual. All worked quite nice.

Again, video for those curious.

On video, I suspect I won’t do it again for a while. Some of the form questions I had were answered and no longer a mystery to me. I did share the videos with a trainer at my day job and received some useful feedback that I’ll start to incorporate (but mostly was “looks good”). It’s just too annoying to take the video. It takes time, it’s distracting, it requires the camera to be far enough away that it can take up space from other gym patrons. And since I have just the 1 device, I have to either record video OR listen to music — and I want my music. Not just because good music, but it drowns out the constant chatter around me. I like being in my bubble. 😉

Anyways, things were fine.

Deload is done.

Next week starts cycle 3 of this graner notion. In terms of “5/3/1 Forever” lingo, this will be an anchor cycle. I’m also trying to take some cues from the periodization stuff, so intensity is going up, so reps and volume are going to go down a bit.

Looking forward to seeing how it goes. I expect it’ll be a gut-check too, more mental hurdles to overcome as I’ll be doing 3/5/1 with PR sets and Jokers. It’s the whole “Jokers after a PR set” that gets to me. On paper tho, it seems do-able. Either way, the challenge will be good for me.

5/3/1 (Based on: Forever, BBB, 5’s PRO)

  • Press
    • bar x 5
    • 70 x 5
    • 90 x 5
    • 110 x 3
    • 125 x 5
    • 145 x 3
    • 160 x 1
    • 180 x 1
    • 90 x 10
    • 90 x 10
  • Bent-over Lateral Raises (superset with press warm-up sets)
    • 15e x 15
    • 15e x 15
    • 15e x 15
    • 15e x 15
  • Normal-grip Pulldowns (superset with press work sets)
    • 140 x 12
    • 140 x 12
    • 140 x 12
  • Barbell Rows (superset with press FSL sets)
    • 165 x 8
    • 165 x 8
  • Lying Triceps Extensions
    • 70 x 12
  • Bike
    • 20 minutes

2018-07-12 training log

Deload week continues. Deadlifts.

Video for the curious.

Really not much to say. They went well. I think I’m mostly happy about my knee rehab, because getting into position is no longer wonky, weird, and painful.

One nice thing about taking video is I’ve been wondering if my back is rounder than it should be, and I would say it’s not.

Belt squats are something I’m going to continue with, but I think I need to back up and experiment with different positions and setup. I think what I’m doing is ok, but I wonder if there’s better. TBD.

It’s rough doing deload week. I found myself just warmed up and wanting to do more. Didn’t, because deload. But I take that as a good sign.

20 minutes on the bike too.

5/3/1 (Based on: Forever, BBB, 5’s PRO)

  • Deadlift
    • 175 x 5
    • 225 x 5
    • 260 x 3
    • 305 x 5
    • 350 x 3
    • 390 x 1
    • 435 x 1
  • Band Pullaparts (superset with deadlift warmups and work)
    • Not tracked, 15 per set
  • Belt Squats
    • 100 x 10
    • 100 x 10
  • Seated Leg Curls
    • 120 x 12
  • Upright rows
    • 105 x 12
    • 105 x 12
  • Stair Calves
    • 70 x 15

2018-07-10 training log

Deload week continues. Bench Press day.

It was… ok. I chose to video all my main lifts this week, so not having music does seem to have an effect on me. Not just the “psyche-up”, but also how it cuts out all the noise of the gym. This could be the gym’s music (which isn’t always to my liking), or just the chatter of other people nearby. I don’t want to listen to their conversations, but you just can’t stop their words from entering your ears – it does distract me some.

And I think that’s why I did all of my reps touch-and-go instead of pausing the first rep. Since music won’t play while recording, I was in a hurry to get the music back in my ears. LOL. 🙂

Also, the irritation of my biceps tendon at the elbow remains. It’s not the crippling pain problems, it’s something different — truly irritation of the tendons. I do think I know what’s causing it (and am taking steps), but as I thought about it, I think the lack of direct biceps work during these cycles contributes. A little bit of direct biceps work has been historically good for me (i.e. do curls instead of residual via rows). I’ve been thinking about adding some back in on the next full cycle, but I may add a little in on this upcoming anchor run over the next 3 weeks.

Apart from that, benching was generally OK.

Everything else was just light work, because deload.

5/3/1 (Based on: Forever, BBB, 5’s PRO)

  • Bench Press
    • bar x 5
    • 105 x 5
    • 135 x 5
    • 155 x 3
    • 180 x 5
    • 210 x 3
    • 235 x 1
    • 260 x 1
    • 135 x 10
    • 135 x 10
  • Bent-over Lateral Raises (superset with bench warm-up sets)
    • 15e x 15
    • 15e x 15
    • 15e x 15
    • 15e x 15
  • Kroc Rows (superset with bench work sets)
    • 60e x 10
    • 60e x 10
  • Curl-grip Pulldowns (superset with bench BBB sets)
    • 130 x 12
    • 130 x 12
  • Pushdowns
    • 95 x 20
  • Bike
    • 23 minutes

2018-07-09 training log

It’s been 6 weeks on (2 5/3/1 cycles), so it’s time for a deload.

I’m trying the “7th week protocol, deload flavor” for the first time. It’s a bit different from prior deload approaches, which were using light weights for just a few sets and reps. This approach is basically to work up to your training max for a single. It’s simple, lightweight, not a lot of work — but certainly more stressful than a few sets with a few reps at a light weight.

For one day of try? I like it. It was fun working up like that, and none too stressful. Just a few sets of assistance work afterwords. Really not bad, and really fun.

That said, tho, the top set felt horrible. I’m not 100% sure why, but I think it was my setup. See, I did something different today.

I took video of my squats. If you’re curious, you can find them on my Instagram.

It was distracting. I’m not used to it, and it adds a bunch of crap to my setup (set the camera, is everything in frame? is it an OK angle? etc.). Then there’s the constant thought of “hit depth, or quartersquatgang is going to start hating”. LOL Not that that matters too much (I hit depth). Oh, and there’s no music because I have only my 1 phone and when recording video you can’t play music. So, everything was different. On the top set? I actually brain farted when I stepped up to the bar — I didn’t remember my grip width! I actually sat there fiddling around — and I know I didn’t take my correct grip, so I unracked and everything felt weird and off.

I mean, the weight went up, but I know I was out of groove and it just felt heavy. I wasn’t happy.

I am thinking about videoing all my lifts this week, just because. But after this week? I may not. It’s just too distracting for me. Maybe if someone else could do the video so I didn’t have to think about it all.

But squats were fine. Fun.

Other stuff.

Band pullaparts. I think I’ve been overdoing it and it’s been stressing my elbows. It’s angle of stress — so I’m now trying to keep my hands with palms down and not allow them to turn at extension and thus put some sideway pressure on my elbows. Also trying to bring the band more across my nipple-area than up above my shoulders — that improves the angle too. I also took a wider grip so there wasn’t as much band tension. I think these and front-plate raises are causing me some new arm problems. So that with the bands. And with the front plate raises, I would have my arms in a way where my elbows pointed out. That was really good at helping the medial delt engage, but I think it’s causing some stress on the elbow and biceps tendon. So now I’m trying to point my elbows more towards the floor. I lose some medial delt tension, but I also feel a lot less stress on the elbow. We’ll see how it goes.

1-leg leg press is good. I moved my foot lower on the plate, and doing that with a curled toe and pushing through my heels really helps more. It’s harder and I actually cut depth a bit because of the knee issues — after a few reps I can and do go deeper. But I think over time this is going to be a big help.

And then about 16 minutes on the bike.

5/3/1 (Based on: Forever, BBB, 5’s PRO)

  • Squat (superset with band pullaparts)
    • bar x 5
    • 135 x 5
    • 165 x 5
    • 195 x 3
    • 230 x 5
    • 260 x 3
    • 295 x 1
    • 325 x 1
  • Band Pullaparts
    • Not tracked, but 15 each set
  • 1-leg Leg Press
    • 90 x 10e
    • 90 x 10e
  • Front Plate Raises (all the way overhead)
    • 35 x 15
    • 35 x 15
  • Stair Calves
    • 70 x 15

Sunday Metal – Municipal Waste

Municipal Waste with “You’re Cut Off”

2018-07-06 training log

Great way to end the week and the 2nd cycle.

I admit I wasn’t sure how this was going to go. The heavier weights are messing with my head. I realized it wasn’t even the weights so muc as the reps. That I had to do “5’s PRO”. I’ve always done traditional 5/3/1, so the 3rd week has an approach of “at least 1, and if more great”. Well, this is at least 5. It’s all in my head for sure.

All the work-up sets felt solid, but that last rep of the 155 set was a bit of a grind — I knew it was because I fell out of groove coming down on the 4th rep, but still it made me unsure of the 170. Well, I put on my wrist wraps, my belt, chalked my hands, played some Hatebreed, went through my setup ritual, and nailed out 5 reps @ 170 easily. I mean, it felt stupid easy.

I was pretty damn happy about that. 🙂

Press has been a tough one for me, but it’s been doing better. I think that spending time working to find a workable setup has been a huge help, because then the reps come instead of things being messed up. For example, before I touch the bar I take some deep breaths, then take a big breath and hold it and squeeze my whole body HARD for a few seconds, then relax. What this does is spikes my internal pressure and gets the dizzy to happen THEN, not when I get under the bar. I relax myself totally and allow the dizzy to fade — I cannot rush it, and be in a hurry to “beat the closing window”. I have to let myself fully recover from the dizzy. Then I clench the bar, squeeze it hard, clench my glutes and let it all radiate through (to remind me to clench my glutes and have whole-body tightness when I press — it matters!). Unrack the bar, step back, and pause… keep the bar in the rack position, let my body be tight (flare the lats and use them as a shelf), then breath out and in — this has been the most recent thing I found is to allow that rack breath. If I play it right, I do NOT lose tightness and the bar won’t droop. And then I get a fresh breath, which makes all the difference since I’ll have a fresh shot of oxygen. THEN I can press, exhaling at the top.

This has been a long time coming in terms of setup, and this isn’t to say more refinements won’t come. But I am at least finally to a point where I feel strong, stable, and don’t have breathing nor dizzy problems. It’s a lot more steps to go through, but it’s working.

And I pressed 170×5 easily today.

I’ll take that

After that, it was what it was. I had to bail early because I was getting my recertification in Adult & Pediatric CPR/AED and First Aid. Good reason for ending a session early. 🙂

And so, next week is deload

5/3/1 (Based on: Forever, BBB, 5’s PRO)

  • Press
    • bar x 5
    • 70 x 5
    • 90 x 5
    • 110 x 3
    • 135 x 5
    • 155 x 5
    • 170 x 5
    • 90 x 10
    • 90 x 10
    • 90 x 10
    • 90 x 10
    • 90 x 10
  • Bent-over Lateral Raises (superset with press warm-up sets)
    • 15e x 15
    • 15e x 15
    • 15e x 15
    • 15e x 15
  • Normal-grip Pulldowns (superset with press work sets)
    • 140 x 12
    • 140 x 12
    • 140 x 12
  • Barbell Row (superset with press BBB sets)
    • 165 x 8
    • 165 x 8
    • 165 x 8
    • 165 x 8
    • 165 x 8

2018-07-05 training log

The knee rehab work has made deadlifting better.

I found it interesting that as I would get into position to lift, that would be JUST the right amount of angle in my knees for the weirdness and “instability” to kick in. It made deadlifting interesting, but I was always able to get through it. But now? I don’t even notice. I just get in position and pull. It’s great!

The PT work is NOT fun. In fact, sometimes it feels downright embarrassing how difficult it can be. But the results cannot be debated. Heck, this morning after I got home I was in the backyard with the dog. There’s a patio slab, and the ground adjacent slopes — so if you step up on one end of the slab it’s a small step up, but on the other end of the slab it’s rather a large step. Usually that’s been a challenge for me due to the knee issues. But today? Up and down with NO problems. It’s great!

Anyways, deadlifting went well. Good work-up. The 415 was heavy, but no problem getting the reps.

Belt squats I continue to experiment with, as a way to work on my knee issues. What I’m playing with is positioning. Right now I’m doing a setup like this:

  • whatever with weight — just something enough to give some “work” while I figure this out.
  • belt around the hips
  • feet shoulder width apart
  • toes/feet pointed forward
  • get into the belt then step backwards from the rack until the belt is “horizontal” and taught
  • feet should be “under” the body

And so when I squat down, feet end up being forward of the body. I’m kinda sitting back into the belt, letting the belt keep me from falling over backwards. Lift the toes up, striving to push through the heels. And go just below parallel — that seemed to help.

When I do this, I do feel it in the quads, lower, VMO-area, etc.. That’s what I want.

I’ll continue to play with positions and approaches. It’s all about getting that area stronger, to help my knees (and my overall leg strength/drive).

Everything else was just assistance work.

About 14 minutes on the bike.

Thinking ahead…

Next week will be deload according to the 7th week protocol. First time trying 7th week protocol, and I’m interested in how it will go. It’s not a normal deload because you work up to a single at your training max (vs. just doing a lot of light work). Curious how it will go in the grand scheme.

Then the 3-weeks after that will be:

  • 3/5/1
  • PR set
  • Jokers
  • FSL – probably 3×5 to start to scale down volume as intensities are increasing, but I may up this.
  • And assistance work will be generally the same, especially oriented towards the knee rehab.

Then another proper deload week.

THEN I start all over. My thinking will be again a 2/1 approach, with the first 6 weeks likely staying with the same approach I’ve been using so far. However instead of 5’s PRO I’ll probably go 5/3/1 PR set, then BBB scaling back again to 3 sets then 4 then 5. Assistance work and so on basically the same. After I finish this 2/1 cycle I reckon I’ll be close to needing a reset, so I’ll readjust everything from there.

One fun thing I’m thinking about doing? Biceps work every session. That every session will get some sort of biceps work, even if it’s just 3 sets of curls. Why? Taking a cue from recent learnings and trying to hit something that can take the volume a little bit each day (vs. a lot 1-2 days) and seeing how it does. And why biceps? Simply because I want to, because we all love biceps. 🙂

One thing I might also do? I MIGHT ditch the bike and see about adding in something like reverse sled drags. TBD. The bike is good because it works the knee without load. The reverse sled drags will help the VMO, but they add load. So, TBD.

5/3/1 (Based on: Forever, BBB, 5’s PRO)

  • Deadlift
    • 175 x 5
    • 225 x 5
    • 260 x 3
    • 325 x 5
    • 370 x 5
    • 415 x 5
  • Band Pullaparts (superset with deadlift warmups and work)
    • Not tracked, but 15 each set
  • Belt Squat
    • 100 x 10
    • 100 x 10
    • 100 x 10
    • 100 x 10
    • 100 x 10
  • Seated Leg Curls
    • 120 x 10
    • 120 x 10
    • 120 x 10
  • Upright rows
    • 105 x 12
    • 105 x 12
    • 105 x 12
    • 105 x 11
    • 105 x 10
  • Stair Calves
    • 70 x 15
    • 70 x 15
    • 70 x 12